Southern China 2009: The How Tough is Your China Built Bike Tour<o></o> <o> </o> The Bikes: 2009 Shineray GY-7. A Chinese built 200cc bike with a 21L fuel tank, 16hp engine and a nice set of racks. Total Bike cost delivered to your door in China is 8800 RMB The Luggage: 3 Adlo boxes per bike. Total box cost, 360 RMB per bike The Players: Marcus, Lynn (Marcus’ girlfriend), Mike (me) and Lisa (my wife). The Budget: 250 RMB a day including fuel, bike maintenance, food, hotels, and touristic fun This summer Marcus and I have bought two Shineray GY-7s for a trip around Southern China and will be riding two up for the entire trip. The trip is expected to run close to 7200km in total and will cover the south of China from Guangdong to Yunnan and back again. We have allocated close to 5 weeks for riding. For this trip, fun is and adventure is the key factor. Many people have asked me why we chose these 200cc bikes and not something larger. The main reason tell them is that these bikes are light, have a large fuel capacity, have some amazing ground clearance and a fair bit of redundant systems built into the bike. These bikes will do the job they are meant to do without the added costs, legal issues and the ability to indulge our passion for the higher speeds that come with a larger displacement bike. One thing we don’t want on this trip is an accident that would leave one of us in any sort or reduced capacity for any amount of time. Also in China, speed is one thing that is really not needed. Although China is the third largest country in the world and has the fastest growth rate of any country it has some of the worst road conditions you could ever imagine. Poor road constructions, random farm animals, rock slides, overloaded trucks with drivers who don’t know what a brake pedal is, locals who have no safety sense that walk out into streets without looking and other random obstacles make China a pretty dangerous place to ride. One more reason for the bike trips is this is going to be Marcus’ first real bike trip and first real bike. He had owned a scooter before and had ridden some friend’s bikes before but had never really owned his own motorcycle. He and I both agreed it was better to start small and for a long trip 200cc is about as small as anyone would ever really want. The bikes arrived a few weeks before the trip was set to get underway. Rather than just flying somewhere and picking up the bikes we decided it would be best if we ordered the bikes and had them delivered to us before we left so Marcus could get some practice in and we could work out the all of the kinks that come with owning a Chinese made motorcycle. All Chinese bikes come with their own fair share of problems that need to be worked out and this time was no exception. My bike came one week before Marcus’ and that gave me a little time to get used to it. This was my second attempt at the GY-7. My first ended with the triple clamp snapping on me while I was riding it. A year later there had been no more reported cases of the snapping triple clamp problems and I was assured by the factory that the new design was more than up to the task. I decided to roll the dice on another one for a few reasons, the first being that massive gas tank, the second is the bike comes well setup for luggage and the third was that before the clamps snapped I actually really liked riding the bike. It was smooth and the wide seat made long distance rides more comfortable than many of the available alternatives. This time when my bike arrived from the factory I had a good look at the clamps and they seemed to be built much better than the ones that were on the early bikes, still not CNC’d from high quality aluminum, but still better. The bike went together easily and I was on and testing it in no time. After testing it was discovered that the rear brake was too tight (an easy fix) and that the bike was sent to me with a faulty stator. The bike also came with more vibrations than I remembered and that was eventually traced back to a snapped engine mount bolt. A week later Marcus’ bike came with air in the front brake line and a pile of loose bolts. I know it sounds like a lot for any new bike, but this is China and almost everything done here is usually done wrong. These problems are improving and even under all of the poor quality control there is actually a nicely thought out bike that has the potential to haul your ass and your gear in at least minimal comfort across China with minimal fuel stops. After a few nights of planning an idea for a route was set. We decided to head west and get as far into the northern mountains of Yunnan as we could. The first day we would have to push the bikes for close to 600km, but after that we would try to keep riding to a maximum of 400km. We threw the boxes on the bikes and on July 26<sup>th</sup> at 6:00 we hopped on the bikes and headed North West from Guangzhou to China’s famous Yangshuo.